August 21, 2012

Mobile is a game changer. No one knows that better than developer Matthew Wallace. With more than 8 years of experience creating user interfaces primarily around the Flash platform (for Aquent | Vitamin T clients as well as Adobe, Infrared5, and Driftlab), Matthew’s most recent work now has him knee-deep in the world of mobile development.

His latest work is a brand new mobile game app for Walgreens that lets you go bowling on your smartphone while in the store to win coupons and even share with others that you’re bowling for coupons (just in case someone’s wondering where you are). Mobile + Social, see?

Matthew admits that the game wasn’t precisely what the client first requested. “The original concept was to scan a barcode and bring up an augmented reality game on the iPhone,” he said. But his team decided a native app would limit the market and the AR would take too much development time to hit Walgreens’ timeline. “What we came up with was a mobile optimized web page so you can use any phone in any store.”

Matthew worked with interactive agency Driftlab’s lead developer, a designer, and an animator to create the experience that, though wasn’t augmented reality, really fit the bill.

walgreens app

Walgreens customers virtually knock down the Neuro Drinks (arranged like bowling pins), then, if they win, get a in-store coupon for the product.

walgreens app 2

It’s harder than it looks. But then again, none of us had a Neuro Drink before we played.

We asked Matthew if there’s a particular language that’s best to use for development. “Use the best tool for the job. That used to sound like a cop out, but it’s a fact. Every project is different. A platform is chosen based on functionality needs. You need to ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish, then go from there.”

“I’m more comfortable with the limitation of mobile web and how to tackle that from a development standpoint. There is a lot you CAN do with Flash to create a great experience. There’s still a learning curve with mobile for everyone. We were surprised how quickly we came up with something the client liked and that was really cool to use.”

Matthew is a huge believer in multi-platform development. His Flash background has driven him to try to utilize platforms that allow him to reuse his code as much as possible. Which explains why he’s such a big champion of Haxe.

From someone who’s learned HTML/CSS, then Flash, then Flex (and many languages in between), he’s become an advocate of developers not becoming The HTML5 Guy, The JavaScript Guy, or The Flex Guy. “You have to develop different skills for different projects. Everything changes.”

We couldn’t agree more. Developers who are more versatile ARE more marketable. And that’s a  mobile concept well worth sharing.


Check out Matthew’s Walgreens’ app from your smartphone at Neurobowl.com.

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